I like to read, and when I have something good to read, I can get through a book pretty fast.
However, I do have a tendancy to only have one book on the go at any one time, and if I am not enjoying it, it can take me forever to finish. I feel I have to finish the book, but reading starts to seem like a chore, and I am reduced to a grudging few pages a day.
Just before Christmas, I picked up a boxed set of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. Year ago I had read “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, and had enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to working my way through the complete set.
Alas, I have recently finished book number 6 (of 14) – “Goldfinger”, and have given up. Part of the reason for my disatisfaction was that although Fleming spoke authoritatively of many things – and he is praised in the introductions for his research – I found I was routinely coming across stuff he described in his novels that seemed incorrect to me, and sufficiently so to jar the suspension of disbelief.
However, the main reason I have given up was I became tired of trying to ignore Fleming’s blatent racism and misogyny. Yes, perhaps he was a man of his time, but some of the opinions in the novels (and it is clear they are Fleming’s opinions, and not just Bond’s) are quite revolting.
Finally, to my surprise, most of the novels had an inferior plot to the later film version of the story. Take Goldfinger as a case in point, where – in the novel – the villain plans to rob Fort Knox and transport away tons and tons of gold, using a “nuclear bomb” simply to gain access to the vaults. In the film, this is given a more elegant twist – the aim is not to steal the gold but to irradiate it, to make it useless, and thus increase the value of Goldfinger’s existing gold hoard.
Anyway, I am afraid I have tired of you, Mr Bond.